Pier 1 Imports to close half its stores as sales falter

Pier 1 Imports plans to close nearly half its 942 stores as it struggles to draw consumers and compete online.

The home decor company said Monday it is closing up to 450 stores and will also shut down distribution centers. It didn’t say where the store closures would occur, but it operates stores in the United States and Canada.

The retailer has two stores in Indianapolis (6810 S. Emerson Ave. and 2902 W. 86th St.) and three in the suburbs (Plainfield, Carmel and Noblesville).

Pier 1 also plans layoffs at its corporate headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.

The company named a new CEO with a background in corporate bankruptcies in November. Robert Riesbeck, who was CEO of former Indianapolis-based appliances HHGregg when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017, took over the top spot at Pier 1 after joining the company as chief financial officer in July.

“Although decisions that impact our associates are never easy, reducing the number of our brick-and-mortar locations is a necessary business decision,” Riesbeck said Monday in a written statement.

The company didn’t say how many workers would be affected.

The moves had some investors wondering if a bankruptcy filing is imminent. Also Monday, Pier 1 added two members to its board with expertise in corporate restructuring.

Pier 1’s shares fell 17% Monday, to close at $5.18 each. They fell another 6% in extended trading following the announcement of the store closures.

The company said sales in its most recent quarter fell 13%, to $358 million, as store traffic fell. It reported a net loss of $59 million for the quarter, which ended Nov. 30.

The company, founded in California in 1962, has been trying to revamp its cluttered stores and change its offerings to appeal more to younger customers. But it is struggling to compete with budget-friendly home decor sites like Wayfair.

After leading HHGregg through bankruptcy, Riesbeck joined FullBeauty Brands as CFO in 2018 and helped guide the company through what The Wall Street Journal reported was the fastest Chapter 11 case ever. It filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 3 and emerged on Feb. 7.

Riesbeck previously spent eight years as an executive with private equity firm Sun Capital Partners Inc., including four years as CFO at defunct Indianapolis-based grocery chain Marsh Supermarkets after Sun acquired Marsh in 2006.

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One thought on “Pier 1 Imports to close half its stores as sales falter

  1. So, one more high-priced equity firm executive whose only expertise appears to be closing – not rescuing – large retail chains. His track record at Marsh and Gregg speaks for itself – who would hire him again based on those? Funny how there’s never any mention of spending money or effort to recreate their brands with effective advertising and innovative marketing campaigns. Only shuttering stores, reducing inventory (giving consumers LESS opportunity to buy what’s in front of them), firing employees, and essentially retreating from the marketplace. The advent of these equity firm owners has been the most damaging force on retail – far worse than “The Internet” and Amazon.

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